Inspired by Soft Services installation at Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill writer joins artist for conversation about ‘intimacy and loss, cruising and alienation, communal possibility, and intimate transgression’

(Image: Jueqian Fang/Henry Art Gallery)

You are invited to visit Volunteer Park this weekend on what should be a sunny and crisp fall day to sit in on a conversation between an artist whose creations now dot the park’s lawns and pathways and a Capitol Hill author who has made the park a setting in their work.

CHS reported here on the Soft Services installations by artist Chloë Bass as the 14 stone benches will make Volunteer Park their home into next summer as part of a Henry Art Gallery project.

Saturday, author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore will talk with Bass about Soft Services in “a conversation about the body and colonialism, intimacy and loss, cruising and alienation, communal possibility, and intimate transgression.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill, Seattle’s White House is for sale

(Image: @rogernyhus)

Capitol Hill, Seattle’s White House is up for grabs. Communications executive and neighborhood political mover and shaker Roger Nyhus is, well, moving and leaving his 1906-built Capitol Hill mansion behind.

“The four-story home features a parlor, entertaining space, expansive kitchen, half-floor primary bedroom,” the listing site boasts. “Highlights include a secret room concealed behind a bookcase inspired by Young Frankenstein, a full-floor office on the third floor with four private offices, an outdoor deck, built-in fiber and expansive views.”

“The White House is a true entertainer’s home,” it concludes.

The price? $5.975 million. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Triumphant September return readies Trans Pride Seattle for future Junes

Volunteer Park and its new amphitheater proved a worthy host for the return of the annual Trans Pride celebration in Seattle. September also held up its end of the bargain.

Friday night on a gorgeous late summer Seattle night, hundreds gathered in the park for a return of the important LGBTQ celebration that organizers decided to move back to September to provide an easier logistical and financial restart after years of pandemic postponements.

CHS reported here on the effort to bring back Trans Pride Seattle and its move to Volunteer Park, a Capitol HIll setting with a long history providing a space and center for queer events and rallies including its part in Seattle’s first Pride celebrations in 1974. Continue reading

Crosscut: Photography exhibit at Seattle Asian Art Museum showcases our complicated relationship with wilderness

By Brangien Davis / Crosscut

The human relationship with the natural landscape is complicated. We are forever trying to get our bodies closer to nature, whether by painting it, taking selfies in it, hiking around in it or insisting on homes with a view. We are awed by untouched wilderness, yet fill it with our detritus. We want to get “back to the Earth” and bend it to our will.

The human-landscape relationship comes into sharp relief in Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on Contemporary Forms, a compact but compelling new show of six artists at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The show’s title references Chinese artist Zhang Huan’s 1995 photograph “To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain,” a striking and disorienting piece in which several naked people lie on top of each other at the summit of Mount Miaofengshan. Continue reading

Reported wall fire damages Federal Ave E home near Volunteer Park

A suspected electrical fire in a wall damaged a 1909-build house on the edge of Volunteer Park Wednesday night but Seattle Fire was able to bring the blaze under control before more significant damage could occur.

Seattle Fire responded to the 1200-block Federal Ave E blaze around 7:30 PM to a report of smoke coming from the two-story, 5,000-square-foot home.

Crew reported the fire under extinguished after about 20 minutes working to put out the stubborn wall fire.

There were no reported significant injuries. Seattle Fire was investigating for an official cause and damage estimate.

 

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With inscriptions and printed plants, art project places 14 temporary stone ‘benches’ in Volunteer Park

(Images: CHS)

For the next year, Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park will feature the work of two famed Seattle art galleries. The Seattle Asian Art Museum, of course, calls the park home. This week, the museum and surrounding park are being joined by a new installation of fourteen stone benches evocative of the park’s history in AIDS activism and its natural history.

Installed by the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery at points around the park, the Soft Services stones from Brooklyn artist Chloë Bass are each engraved with inscriptions, “artist-written text that both stands alone and creates a larger meaning across the series of seating—and a silhouetted image applied in light-responsive pigment, which allows the image to shift slightly based on the time of day, weather conditions, and sight lines.”

The large decorated and inscribed stones are meant to connect with the park’s history as a centerpoint for the annual AIDS Walk that morphed over the decades from a gathering of queer health activism to an annual tradition dedicated to supporting those living with HIV and AIDS: Continue reading

CHS Pics | Go Beyond the Mountain with a *cool* visit to Capitol Hill’s Seattle Asian Art Museum

As part of our tours of the neighborhood and photos from the streets of Capitol Hill while CHS is out on a short summer vacation news break, CHS Pics stopped by the Seattle Asian Art Museum for what is only its second special exhibition since the debut of its major overhaul was overshadowed by the COVID pandemic.

Beyond the Mountain is an immersive exhibition with work by six contemporary Chinese artists who are “inspired by classical Chinese art forms to tackle urgent and complex present-day issues.” The works include video, multimedia installation, painting, and photography. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Kindie’ band rocks stage in Volunteer Park’s new amphitheater debut — Shakespeare next

Let history be recorded. Seattle “kindie” rock band The Not Its! were the first performers to officially grace the stage of Volunteer Park’s new amphitheater. CHS stopped through Saturday afternoon on a day of music to inaugurate the new stage and facility. The new amphitheater has a roof, storage and green room space, all-gender bathrooms, upgraded electrical access, and a new “resilient floor” to better accommodate dance performances. Saturday, the floor was put to the test with some kid-friendly rock. A summer series of concerts will follow starting Thursday, July 14th as KNKX brings an evening of jazz piano to the park’s new structure.

Organizers who helped fund the Seattle Parks project say they hope the stage enhances the landmark park while also presenting an opportunity to Seattle’s communities of arts and culture. “I’m hoping there’s community groups across the city going ‘Ooo we could do this or that there,’ and everyone in the park will benefit from the vibrancy that comes from these gatherings,” Jennifer Ott of the Volunteer Park Trust community group told CHS.

A familiar gathering will be one of the first community events on the stage. This weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 9th and 10th, the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival returns to Volunteer Park with a slate of Shakespeare-heavy performances that will include stagings at the new amphitheater as well as on the lawns near the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. You’ll find more information and the full schedule at greenstage.org/sotf/

More pictures of Volunteer Park’s new stage and the improved area around — and behind the scenes of — the amphitheater are below. Continue reading

Volunteer Park’s new amphitheater has a stage worthy of Seattle’s performers and a roof worthy of the city’s weather

(Image: Volunteer Park Trust)

 

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By Hannah Saunders

The grand opening of the new Volunteer Park amphitheater will take place on July 2, where performances will follow for the rest of the summer. The new stage is replacing the old brick amphitheater, built 51 years ago.

The project has been in development for about six years with its community priorities headed by the Volunteer Park Trust community group.

Terry Morgan, event producer for the park’s summer series celebrating the new facility, said the previous amphitheater was falling apart and wasn’t up to performance standards. The new amphitheater? It is state of the art.

“One of the unique items on the stage is instead of just having a backstage wall, it’s actually a wall that pivots, so when the wall will be open you’ll just see right through the stage, and it just becomes an open space,” Morgan said, adding that it’s also a perfect space for morning yoga and stretching that the public can regularly enjoy.

As for the old stage, not many will miss the bricks.

“It had always had some pretty significant shortcomings from a performance perspective,” said Jennifer Ott, board chair of the Volunteer Park Trust. “It really was an eyesore.” Continue reading

No reported signs of foul play as body found in tent in Volunteer Park — UPDATE

Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture from the scene

A work crew cleaned out an encampment in Volunteer Park Tuesday. The area had been taped off an marked as a biohazard after a bod was found dead at the camp last week.

According to East Precinct and Seattle Fire radio updates, a dead body was found inside the tent beneath a tree along the park trail just east of the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Seattle Police were called to the park just before 5 PM Friday and called Seattle Fire to the scene for the “DOA” victim. The area was not locked down as a crime scene which is typical if there are signs of trauma or a suspicious death.

We are following up with SPD, SFD, and the county coroner to learn more about the investigation.

UPDATE: Seattle Fire says the person who died was a 35-year-old man who was “found deceased.”

While unusual, bodies of people camping and living unhoused have occasionally been recovered from Capitol Hill area parks. In 2016, CHS reported on two bodies found in separate areas of Interlaken Park and covered a father’s search for his son who had been struggling with addiction and homelessness that led to the discovery.

 

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We love providing community news on CHS free for thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you are enjoying CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep CHS available to all. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.